Pivoting Practices

A Global Moratorium on New Construction

It has become unmanageable to ignore the complicit role that design disciplines play in environmental degradation, social injustice, and climate crisis. Not only is new construction destructive, but it is also unnecessary. 

In 2050, the world population will plateau. Already, in countries where the generational renewal is no longer happening, scores of buildings stand empty, decaying. Yet and still, designers design, architects plan, planners envision — bathing in a contented delusion of design neutrality and powerlessness. This detachment is no longer tenable.

What Donna Haraway calls “the appropriation of nature as resource for the productions of culture” and the translation of the Earth’s resources into the built environment and its economic model of development, is mirrored in today’s global neo-colonial modes of extraction capitalism. The consequences are visible — the wall is in sight. 

A drastic change to global construction protocols is necessary: the suspension of new construction, now. 

The second roundtable will discuss what would it mean for architecture and planning professions to shift from building anew to dealing only with an existing stock, what are potential role models, and radical new ways of practicing.


  • Silvia Gioberti

D-ARCH, ETH Zurich

  • June 2nd, 2021


  • Menna Aga (Project Displaced)
  • Sarah Barth (@countdown_20_30)
  • Leon Beck (@agn_ethz)
  • Silvia Gioberti (@guerillaarchitects)
  • Kerstin Müller (@bauburoinsitu zirkular)